Sontag Foundation awards $2.25M for research


The Sontag Foundation has announced the three winners of its Distinguished Scientist Award, a $750,000 grant awarded through a competitive scientific review process. These three scientists, with the potential to make a significant impact in the field of brain cancer, are selected to join the prestigious network of Sontag Foundation award recipients.

To date, the foundation has invested more than $65 million dollars to launch the careers of young scientists at academic medical institutions throughout North America.

The following Distinguished Scientist Awardees will receive $750,000 to advance their research on brain cancer:

  • Dr. Kyle P. Eagen, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Dr. Leyuan Ma, University of Pennsylvania/Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Deblina Sarkar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“It is great to see these three scientists join our 66 previous Distinguished Scientist award winners to help advance new technologies and defeat this horrible disease,” said Rick Sontag, president.

“I am humbled and grateful to be a Sontag Foundation DSA awardee,” said Eagen. “It is not often that a scientist can pursue a new research direction, but support from the Sontag Foundation will allow my lab to do just that. When embarking on a new adventure it is important to have great people around you. I am particularly excited to become a part of the Sontag community so I can interact with other outstanding investigators to generate new ideas to better understand and treat brain tumors.”

In February, the foundation will host its 21st annual scientific summit in Amelia Island, bringing current and past awardees together to engage in collaborative conversations to drive science forward to make a difference in the field of brain cancer and in the lives of brain cancer patients.

The keynote speaker will be Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson. Gibson served as a fighter pilot, test pilot and Navy astronaut for more than 50 years before becoming a pilot for Southwest Airlines in 1996. He’s flown five space flights, four of them as the mission commander. Gibson has received numerous awards and was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003 and enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2013.